Chennai: The home of former union minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram in Chennai is among more than a dozen places raided by the CBI or Central Bureau of Investigation this morning as part of an inquiry into suspected criminal misconduct related to approval of investment deals.
- Searches are targeted at Mr Chidambaram's son Karti: sources
- Raids are on at 14 places in Chennai including ex-union minister's home
- "Attempt to grab headlines and create a perception": Congress
The searches are on at 14 places a day after an FIR or police complaint named Karti Chidambaram as an accused in connection with foreign investment clearances to a media company. The allegation is that Karti Chidambaram's company facilitated clearances to INX Media in 2008 for kickbacks.
CBI sources say they are investigating the charge that Karti Chidambaram's company received Rs 10 lakh from INX Media, which got an FIPB or Foreign Exchange Promotion Board clearance for four crores but actually received Rs 305 crores.
INX Media was then owned by former media tycoon Peter Mukerjea and his wife Indrani Mukerjea, who are currently in jail in connection with the murder of her daughter Sheena Bora. Sources say some clues on the INX Media deal emerged from investigations into the murder, when the financial transactions of the Mukerjeas were scrutinized. The Mukerjeas exited INX Media in 2009.
Mr Chidambaram, a top Congress leader, was Finance Minister in the Manmohan Singh government at the time and his role is also being examined, say sources.
In a statement, Mr Chidambaram said: "FIPB approval is granted in hundreds of cases. The five Secretaries who constitute the FIPB, the officials of the FIPB Secretariat and the competent authority in each case are the public officials. There is no allegation against any of them. There is no allegation against me."
Stating that every case was processed according to law, Mr Chidambaram said: "The government, using the CBI and other agencies, is targeting my son and his friends. The government's aim is to silence my voice and stop me from writing, as it has tried to do in the cases of leaders of Opposition parties, journalists, columnists, NGOs and civil society organizations. All I will say is, I shall continue to speak and write."
The Congress accused the government using its agencies for a witch-hunt against Mr Chidambaram and his son. "The attempt is to grab headlines and create a perception. Why no action for three years?" said Congress spokesperson Tom Vadakkan.
The BJP's Shaina NC denied the allegation and said, "These are certain charges and the CBI is doing its job of investigating them."